§ MR. ADDISON (Ashton-under-Lyne)
asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether his attention has been called to the fact that another officer has died from typhoid fever, contracted in barracks at Dublin, and that several other officers are at present suffering from the same disease; whether the recommendations made by the Commission presided over by Sir Charles Cameron with regard to the sanitary condition of the Royal Barracks, Dublin, have been carried out; whether it is a fact that in the Wellington Barracks (formerly known as the Richmond Bridewell), it is impossible to light fires or heat the corridors in which the troops are quartered; and, whether he will take steps to have a thorough investigation made of the sanitary condition of all the barracks in Dublin?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
Four officers have been ill from enteric fever lately, which is believed to have been contracted in Dublin; but I am glad to say that no death has taken place among the officers since that of Lieutenant Crofton, who died of typhus on the 28th of October. Most of the recommendations of Sir Charles Cameron's Commission have been carried out, and nearly all the remainder are in course of execution. There are, however, serious difficulties with regard to all the Dublin Barracks as to the disposal of sewage, which difficulties can scarcely be overcome till the sewage arrangements of the city itself are improved. In the Wellington Barracks the heating apparatus has been repaired and improved, and no complaints of its insufficiency have been received. The sanitary state of the barracks in Dublin has been, and is, a source of great anxiety to me. It is not to be tolerated, if human science can prevent it, that officers and men should be exposed to the risk of contracting this fever; and therefore, although I am by no means prepared to say that any reasonable step has been neglected, I have determined to institute a further wholly independent inquiry into the sanitary state of the Royal and Wellington Barracks, 1657 and I have appointed a sanitary engineer of eminence, Mr. Rogers Field, of Westminster Chambers, London, to undertake it.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT (Sussex, N.W.)
asked whether the Valentine Square, in the Royal Barracks, was still occupied by troops; and whether it was not a fact that for more than 40 years that square had been infected with fever?
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
As to what has happened during a period of 40 years, I think I might reasonably ask for Notice. It is perfectly true that there has been fever in Valentino Square; but the recommendations have, in the main, been carried out, and others are now being carried out.
§ MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
inquired whether the new inquiry would be extended to all the barracks in Dublin; and further, would the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that, when the investigation was complete, he would carry out a thorough sanitary reform of all the barracks?
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I think it may very likely be desirable to extend the inquiry to all the barracks in Dublin; but I should prefer first to get the two most important cases—I mean where there has been most illness—namely, Wellington Barracks and the Royal Barracks, inquired into. As to the steps which will afterwards be taken, I need scarcely say that I have ordered this inquiry for the purpose of endeavouring to get rid of this terrible disease.
§ SIR JULIAN GOLDSMID (St. Pancras, S.)
Has the right hon. Gentleman satisfied himself that Mr. Field is an eminent sanitary authority?
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I know there are enormous differences of opinion with regard to any particular sanitary engineer; but I know he has undertaken works of great importance, and carried them out satisfactorily.